Multiple Exposure Blending for Car Photography + RAW File

This shot of the McLaren was shot with natural light, if you’ve been following my work you’d by now know that I prefer the natural light for car photography over strobing the car or light painting it. Watch the video below to see how I shot it & how I edited it in Photoshop.

Download the RAW file

Download McLaren Two Exposures RAW File

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Godox AD200 Giveaway + Car Photography Lighting tutorial

I have recently reached a milestone on YouTube & I wouldn’t have done it with you, so thank you so much for subscribing and watching my videos.

As a token of appreciation, I am giving away the “Godox AD200” Flash kit, not familiar with Godox? Here, watch this freshly uploaded video about lighting cars with the flash kit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgMP9s4FxtQ

Enter the Giveaway


Car Photography Photoshop After

Photoshop for Car Photography Video Tutorial + RAW File

I have been stressing a lot in my videos on how photoshop is important to take your car photography to the next level, in this walkthrough tutorial I am going to show you how I took a boring shot and turned it into an interesting shot using photoshop, download the raw file below and follow along.

Download the RAW file

Download McLaren RAW File

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Porsche Cayman S Miami Blue

Car Photography tips that will level up your game

When I first started shooting cars two years ago it was a bit challenging to understand this tricky hobby & I wish I had guidance.

I have packed my two years of car photography knowledge into 9 simple tips:

9 car photography tips

1- Get to know the car

The first thing I do when I take a car photography job is to understand what I will be shooting, what colour is it, is it bright or dark? Is it a matte or glossy & how will it interact with light. Look out for it’s curves and detail. This will determine how and where will the car be shot at.

I also google the car to see how other photographers have shot it, what worked and what didn’t work.

2- Get a good camera & I know this is up for a debate, a lot of you have been asking me about the best camera for car photography.

And this defines what a good camera is, especially if you are just starting up:

  • Get something within your budget & won’t break the bank
  • Get a camera that is compatible with the lenses that you want to get & the accessories that you are going to buy
  • Get a camera that is compatible with the lighting system that you are going to use
  • Factor in other things like are you going to use it to shoot video, do you want 4K or just Full HD, triggers, slow motion etc…

3- Get a good CPL filter to cut out reflection, this has really changed my photos for good.

4- Shoot at the golden hour when the light is soft, shooting mid day will result in harsh highlights and harsh shadows, if you had to shoot at mid day then find a good shadow area, I shot this GT3 Rs when the sun was harsh,I positioned the car between walls that bounced soft light- this shot is still my favourite.

5- Compress the background with a high focal length, I see many beginners getting a wide lens and stick the camera next to the car – don’t do that… I did it when I started, if you had to do it, do it once & get it out of your system for good. Extend your focal length ( watch the video )

6- Understand light, the quality of light & Shape it, once you nail it; its going to change your photos for good & I am not just talking about strobes & flashes… its also about the sunlight.

7- Train your eyes & get the composition right in Camera, along with how to position the car.

8- Photoshop! Once you have the eyes now its time to get Photoshop skills under your belt, Don’t be afraid to use photoshop, practice make perfect, I didnt know how to use photoshop 2 years ago & now I know how to bake a good image out of it.

9- Follow other photographers, ask questions, be curious – Yes they are busy but they often reply … Experiment, Fail & Fail alot – dont be afraid to fail its the only way you are going to learn!


Color Grading in Photoshop with LUTs

Color grading is form of art! It’s the final process of finalizing an image, it expresses emotion, sets the mood & moves ones feelings! In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to color grade your car photos in photoshop using LUTs.

Using photoshop to color grade

Color grading in photoshop can be achieved in multiple ways via curves or color balance.

You can also color grade in photoshop using LUTS (lookup tables) by adding a lookup table adjustment layer and then load a LUT from the drop down menu.

Photoshop comes preloaded with a list of LUTs that can be applied to your images, there are many free and premium LUTs available online,a simple Google search will list many resources in which you could download LUTs from.

Download my FREE LUTs

While the field of LUTs is saturated, I have personally created two LUTs back in the time when I used to shoot & edit videos.

You can download the LUTs by filling the form below. Enjoy!
If you are going to use my LUTs please leave a link back to this page.

Download My FREE LUTs

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Car Photography Lighting Setup

Car Photography lighting with Profoto B1 Strobe

Car Photography Lighting with strobes/flash is a tricky technique; when done right it results in unique car photos that stands out from the ordinary photos. Flash car photography is easier when combined with ambient light or daylight, but what about when it’s pitch black out there, understanding light & shaping it is key to this type of car photography.

In this tutorial I am going to show you how to shoot a car with one Profoto B1 & a stripbox modifier to get that soft light on the car’s surface.

Equipment used in this tutorial

  • Sony A7rii
  • Canon 24 – 105 F4
  • Metabones Adapter
  • Profoto B1 Strobe
  • Profoto RFi Softbox Strip 1×4
  • Profoto Trigger
  • Manfrotto light stand
  • Manfrotto Tripod, Head & baseplate
  • An assistant to take the photos

2 different images/exposures

  1. An image shot with the light
  2. The brake light image

How to shoot it?

I mounted the Profoto B1 with the stripbox on the light stand, the idea is to have the light positioned on top of the car without the stand appearing in the photo, You can off course invest in a boomed C-stand but I won’t be using that stand for anything else than this shot, it would be a waste of money so the only way to do it is to lift the stand and try to centre the light on top of the car.

This technique though will require taking multiple images with the strobe to ensure you have the light right as required, your assistant should be able to tell you if the exposure is correct, otherwise send him to do the heavy lifting & you just watch the photos coming in while directing him 😉

Once you are done with lighting the car with the strobe; it’s time to take the other exposure,  the brake/tail light image.

If you nail all 2 exposures right then the rest will be done with Photoshop Magic to blend & merge all photos together. Watch my video to see the entire process of car photography lighting technique with Profoto B1


Best Lens For Car Photography

Many of you have been asking me about the best lens for car Photography, I went ahead and made this video tutorial that sheds some information about lenses for car photography and when to use them. Enjoy!

Transcript:

Hey what’s up time he goes today we’re going to talk about lenses for automotive photography and I often get asked about kind of lens I’d recommend.

I tend to give them the same answer every time and that is basically it depends really what you’re trying to achieve so if you’re trying to get an action shot or a rig shot then I would recommend a wide lens, the wide lens would portray shows the motion blur around the car with a tighter lens you wouldn’t be able to do so however if you’re trying to get more of the detail shots or a normal car shot then I would recommend something narrower and today I’m going to show you what lenses I use and how I use them.

17 – 40 Canon lens for Full Frame

The First lens that we’re going to talk about is the wide lens which is the Full Frame 17 to 40 from Canon I mainly use this with rig shots and action shots because I would like to have more of the scenery around the car, when you take a rig shot the car is in focus and everything around it is in a motion blur effect. If you have a tighter lens let’s say 50, 80 or 100 you wouldn’t be able to show the surroundings of the car and so you won’t have that speed effect.

24-105 Canon lens Full Frame

The other lens that I use like 99 percent of the time is the 24 to 105, I use this for almost all of my car shots, if they ask me which is the one lens that I would take with me anywhere I would definitely go for the 24 – 105, it provides a good zoom range, whether its a normal, detail or a rig shot it would just do the job right!

70-200 Canon lens Full Frame

I recently bought the 70 to 200 but I never got  the time to actually use it. the idea behind this was actually to even compress the image, so I would literally keep a long distance between the car and I and try to compress the image. I’ve seen a lot of people using this and mainly for actions for sporting events, you can also get cool panning shots.

Please note that these are full-frame sensor glasses so you will need to find its equivalents for the crop sensor.


Rig shot

Car Rig Photography - Taking the Perfect Car Rig Shot

A great car rig shot can take your car photography to the next level, showing off the car in action with a relatively simple setup. It’s worth noting that rig shots can be a risky undertaking. Setting it up and carrying it out could put you, other people, your photography equipment, or your car in danger. With that said, taking care to set up your rig correctly, and using proper safety precautions throughout the whole process, is an absolute must. Rig shots definitely aren’t for beginners, but for experienced amateur photographers with a passion for car & automotive photography, it’s a great way to get pro-quality action shots that definitely impress.

Create An Atmosphere of Speed and Motion

When you see an impressive action shot of a car, it’s almost always a rig shot. Rig shots basically consist of a large pole, or “boom,” fixed to the car. The end of the boom holds a camera. That way, images can be taken while the car is in motion, capturing the Audi’s power and speed. The rig itself must be lightweight, yet strong enough to hold up the camera. Its attachment to the car itself must be completely secure as well. High-end car rigs are generally out of reach for most hobbyists, but it’s possible to build one yourself. It takes a bit of monetary investment, but higher quality materials are imperative.

This method of using a rig for action shots is almost as old as car photography itself, but it’s not as simple as it looks. If a suction cup comes off, or a clamp loses its grip, the results can be disastrous. It’s important to use the right high-quality equipment, and to make sure everything is securely attached. Otherwise, you could be facing scratched paint, suction cup marks on the car, or irreparable damage to your expensive DSLR camera.

What You’ll Need to Pull It Off

If you’re going to attempt a rig shot of your car, you need the right equipment. This isn’t a place to scrimp and save: you’ll need to invest some money if you want to do it right. Cheap or improper equipment can be downright unsafe.

Here’s a basic rundown of what you’re going to need.
The Boom
The boom is generally constructed from several sections of sturdy pipe, with strong couplers holding them together. You can put one together using a couple pieces of aluminum pipe held together with couplers. To fix the boom onto your car, you’ll want suction cups.

Suction Cups
Don’t go cheap on the suction cups. If they fail, your expensive camera will get dragged along the ground. If possible, affix them to one of the windows. Believe it or not, the layered glass used on modern car windows is actually stronger and better suited for this than the metal body. Plus, suction cups can scratch up your flawless paint job.

The Magic Arm
It’s not cheap, but the Manfrotto Magic Arm is a great tool for the job. This piece of high-end photography equipment is a rotating ball head mount designed for flexible camera and light positioning in professional studios. Lightweight but strong, you can clamp it into your rig and adjust for the perfect angle.

Tips for Getting the Perfect Shot

Once you’ve set up a secure rig, it’s time to get that perfect shot. Your speed, the lighting that’s available, the road you’re on, and other factors will affect how the final images look. These useful tips can help you get a breathtaking magazine-worthy action shot that shows off the full potential of your Audi.

1) Push the car
A great rig shot conveys a sense of speed and dynamic motion & usually the car is barely moving. I don’t recommend turning the engine on & driving the car but instead get the gear in its Neutral state and push the car, turning the engine on will only cause more undesired shakes.

2) Slow your shutter speed.
A motion blur effect creates an unmistakable aura of motion, and for a rig shot, you’ll want to adjust your shutter speed appropriately. Fast shutter speeds “freeze” action, creating a still and motionless image frozen in time. When you slow down the shutter speed, objects in the picture will look blurred in the direction of motion. This is an age-old standby in automotive photography.

3) Use a wide angle lens.
Lenses with a long focal length will show more vibration in the camera, messing up your images. A wide lens is also ideal to show surroundings!

4) Use a polarizing filter.
Car windows are notoriously reflective, and for a great rig shot, you’ll want to mitigate the presence of reflections on your Audi. A polarizing filter can help. Light reflecting from a non-metallic surface becomes polarized, creating glare from roads and bodies of water on shiny surfaces like auto glass. A polarizing filter changes the balance of light in the photograph, suppressing glare and repressing reflections. It can also enhance the surrouding scenery, increasing the contrast between clouds and sky and improving the color of foliage.

5) If you want to do multi-second exposures, use a neutral density filter.
A neutral density (ND) filter helps block light from reaching your camera’s sensor. This prevents the images from looking overexposed. A variable ND filter will allow you to adjust the amount of light you want to remove.

6) Try doing an exposure while turning a corner.
A low front angle while taking a corner creates a dramatic image. The motion blur takes on a circular directionality, creating an interesting effect that enhances the sense of action and velocity in the image.

7) Practice makes perfect.
Car rig shots aren’t easy for beginners, and even if you’re a pretty good amateur photographer, it can take a while to get the hang of it. But once you do, you’ll be thrilled with the results.